Respect for your spiritual teachers
A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. ( Luke 6:40)
One thing that our current generation of Christian lacks is having deep respect for our spiritual teachers. I consider those who teach us the principles of the Christian faith as spiritual teachers even if they do not claim any such status. Some of them rather use the term ‘workers in the Lord’s vineyard’ which is fine enough for me.
Back in the early centuries of Christianity it was difficult to gain access to teachers of the faith. This was because the Roman Empire heavily persecuted the preachers of the Gospel. Persecution by death to be precise! Yet time and again there arose teachers who risked their lives to help other Christians learn the teachings of our faith.
We have a lot to thank our Lord Jesus for the past teachers of the faith. Augustine of Hippo defended the Christian faith from pagan critics. Athanasius of Alexandria preached against the heresy of the Arians. St. Irenaeus gave canonical status to the gospels of Luke, Matthew, Mark and John which are now part of the Bible. Sometimes the teachers made Bible reading easier, for instance the Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton who helped develop the concept of assigning the chapters and verses of the Bible for easier study.
Cut back to today’s world. Most of the teachings of our faith are available free on the internet and on TV as well. In some places you still get free Bibles and Christian literature without paying anything. Now some people equate ‘free’ with ‘low quality’. Yet these are the ones are among the first to complain if the teaching series is available by payment only. They have made their minds to blame a teacher of the faith if he gives out the teachings for free or at a cost. They will accuse such teachers of having hidden agendas. Double standards indeed!
People make fun of teachers who preach against silly divorces saying that these are still ‘stuck’ in the middle ages. But when these people themselves undergo a divorce they rush to these teachers to pray for ‘reconciliation’ with their spouses. And poor teacher simply forgives those who made fun of him and then helps the person facing the divorce issue. Now when the divorce is averted, what do such people do? They never apologize for making fun of the teacher but only keep hugging their reconciled spouse. Selfishness indeed when the only point of these people is their own happiness!
Then we have people who ridicule the preachers who remind us that Jesus gave us authority to cast out evils spirits. They will make jokes about such preachers though there are Bible verses to prove that we have authority to cast out demons. Then all of a sudden when their own kids get possessed and when medico-psychological help fails, they then sheepishly approach preachers who can exorcise. Again the preacher forgives them of their stupidity and simply goes on to help them out. Couldn’t have their read the Bible first before making fun of those who preach deliverance?
One of the people I hate the most are those who bully their preachers into preaching only what they want to hear. For instance, the people won’t put in donations if the preacher starts speaking about being a bright and responsible Christian at home, school and work. Yet if the preacher speaks loads of blessings without any responsibility then they will praise him to the clouds. Economic bullying in action, I’d say. While some people simply walk out on preachers who preach against wrong doing or having lack of faith in Jesus. They simply want to be validated about the state of sin they are living in. Surely such people will receive their reward from God for their disrespect.
One must always respect a teacher of the faith no matter how odd their methods seem. Even if you do not agree with them, you can speak politely to them. There’s always the Bible which you can reach for yourself to get the right idea on the Gospel topic that was preached to you. You still have your own choices to make because its your own soul that you are responsible for.
Take time to grow
To continue in Christ means to take time to grow. When you have been in Christ you should not stagnate spiritually. Jesus gives us the living waters. So we are to have life in us, in our thoughts, words and actions.
Sometimes if funny to hear Christians speak about their past experiences in Christ. Not that it’s bad to speak about the Lords works in your life. But it’s bad that you can only talk what he did in your life 15 years ago and are completely zonked when you are asked what God did in your life very much recently. This means you are not that engrossed in the Lord like about 10-15 years ago.
Growing up in Christ, is the key to keep continuing in Christ. Don’t get me wrong but if your love for God hasn’t increased from the last 5 years, something is wrong, not with Christ but with you. Do not use what the Lord has done for you by any means to remove the need for personal accountability with the Holy Spirit. The finished work of the cross doesn’t absolve you from personal responsibility.
It’s your responsibility to love God even more. By how much? That’s some that only you can decide but I can safely say, love God to the best of what you are and can do.
You can’t say you love God when aren’t bothered to read the Bible nor care about reaching out to sinners, when you don’t want to give hope to the sick and the afflicted. Don’t scam yourself saying in your heart that the Lord will forgive your sin whatever you do especially when the Lord is long suffering. Get it real mate, sinners do not make it to heaven. It’s the person who believes in Jesus who actually goes to heaven.
It’s your responsibility to believe in the Lord Jesus. Even the Lord Jesus can’t believe on your behalf. Believing is not just a mental affirmation, it’s a living trust in the Lord that manifest in all your actions. Have respect for him. You can’t be focused on eating when you are worshiping him, okay. If you are hungry then eat first and then pray rather than trying to be too religious appearing to pray first but distracted with thoughts about food. The kingdom of heaven is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
You can’t say you are righteous if you are not concerned with the righteousness of Christ that he gives you. Being focused only on sin avoidance but not on the holiness of God is a very imbalanced way of life. It’s like accepting Christ only to escape hell and not because the Lord is worthy of worship. Do not make your Christian life something like not being bothered about the Lord’s discipline.
You must be eager for the Lords discipline. It not something like a judgment kind of a thing. Why should the Lord judge you if you truly in him? Here it means that the Lord could be leading you to more meditation on the word rather just singing hymns. The Lord could be reminding you that you are to carry your cross daily instead of waiting idly. The Lord could be asking you for more of quality prayer time instead of wasting time on entertainment.
If you want to learn from the Bible don’t wait for a big change in your church that they start Bible study classes. If you want to go to college do you wait for the church to pass a law favoring going to college or do you just go directly to college? So why then if you want a Bible study do you wait for the Church to start Bible classes? There are so many books from which you can learn to read the Bible, which you can get from a leading book store. Why don’t you just get them? In my own case, I learnt a lot without the need to go to Bible studies, so I do know it’s possible to do so.
You need to grow in Christ, you need to start now and for that you need the Lord. You should desire to grow not because you want to increase in ability but rather that you wish to honor God. Desire to grow because the Lord expects it from you!!